Exploring Creative LearningProcesses of Refugee Children and their Peers—A Case Study
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This ethnographic case study investigates the access refugee children have to creative learning in a high school in Glasgow as well as the impact of social capital on the scholarly development and inclusion of this group of children.
Research on refugee children in Scottish school settings has primarily focused on provisions such as language support and well–being (e.g. Green, 2006; Hopkins & Hill, 2006; Netto & Fraser, 2009). However, there is hardly any research that explores the actual learning processes and daily social interactions of this group within schools (e.g. Dobson, McCulloch, & Sime, 2008; Frondigoun et al., 2007; Rolfe & Metcalf, 2009).
The present study addressed this research gap by conducting an ethnographic case study using qualitative means including participant observation, field notes, participants’ photography, group discussions, interviews, conversations and open-ended questionnaires. The collected data was analysed by means of the analytical software NVivo™, research diaries, and manual coding of field notes.
My findings demonstrated strong indicators for social capital and their impact on positive learning experiences. The refugee pupils displayed strong cultural competences; monolingual peers in contrast displayed selective social competences depending on the relevance of a situation. The findings, which were interpreted within a conceptual framework that was developed as part of this research, showed the relevance of space in its physical and metaphorical properties to create creative learning strategies. Although access to these strategies was facilitated in all the three classroom spaces, the English as Additional Language (EAL) Unit appeared to be the most conducive environment. These findings highlight the niche position of the EAL Unit as a non-mainstream space in school, which seemed to provide more freedom for creating learning spaces, as a result of not having to adhere to the curriculum framework (5–14 Curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence).